Between You and Me

Shatarupa's Descendants

Between you and me is deep, infinite space

Separated by a trillion light years.

Sometimes, this burden of infinity suffocates & crushes my soul.

I can’t hold on any longer…

These days, I am frantically on the hunt

For a parallel universe

Where distances burst like bubbles,

Time melts like icebergs,

Dreams waltz on streaks of silvery light,

And love blooms in the hearts of galaxies

with the splendour of a million suns.

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Between You and Me

Between you and me is deep, infinite space

Separated by a trillion light years.

Sometimes, this burden of infinity suffocates & crushes my soul.

I can’t hold on any longer…

 

These days, I am frantically on the hunt

For a parallel universe

Where distances burst like bubbles,

Time melts like icebergs,

Dreams waltz on streaks of silvery light,

And love blooms in the hearts of galaxies

with the splendour of a million suns.

The Sixth Element

“You will marry an artist –

One whose fame will spread far and wide,

Across the earth and the heavens.

He will be the undisputable master of his art,

Conjuring up fantasies from the five elements,” said the old sorceress

Gazing awkwardly at my pale, awestruck face.

 

Years later, fate conspired with nature

And summoned them to his royal court.

We became Man and Wife

In a world obsessed with hypocrisy, pomp and pageantry.

In the ensuing drama of time and space,

You acted out your part

With the consummate skills of a theatre artist.

 

An artist unparalleled;

Your slim, nimble fingers

Caressed my curves

And sketched mighty seas, oceans and rivers

On the fragile canvas of my being.

 

For my pleasure,

You made exotic garlands of clay,

Which upon the slightest touch,

Turned in to a delightful bouquet of flowers.

 

With your cool, scented breath,

You blew away the remnants of the past

That lingered in every atom of my soul.

You even embellished it with a silver quilt

Woven from the infinite mirages of the Sahara.

 

You wrote lengthy verses for me

In the vast blue skies –

In a language that was other-worldly, undecipherable

And out of bounds for mortals.

 

The world worshipped you,

Hailed you as a prophet,

A master craftsman, a genius of our times,

An iconic philosopher…

Even Time paused momentarily in its flight

To witness your final, magnificent feat.

 

Finally, to please one and all,

You built the hall of thousand mirrors

From the eternal fire of the heavens.

The press described it as “the greatest work of mankind.”

However, I, your devoted wife,

Felt that something was badly amiss –

Each piece of glass reflected your mysterious self,

Your fiery temper, your gargantuan ego…

Perhaps, it lacked the sixth element

That I had always discreetly craved for –

Love.

The Water wife

eyes_of_arabia_by_desert_winds-d5dp97n

I am your water wife –

A water carrier at dawn, a slave during the day.

I am a lonely, lesser mortal,

Born to serve the needs of your home and body.

They say I am lucky, for you have given me a new life;

An eternal liberation from the horrors of the past.

 

I am your water wife.

Every day, I navigate miles upon miles of hot sands

To fetch water for your children, and your dear ones.

And when the sun hides in the mountains,

And stars peep through the dark, fragmented clouds,

You discreetly spread over me like a creeper,

Smothering me with your perfidious scent.

 

I have grown accustomed to these million-year-old undulating terrains,

And the short prickly bushes that pierce the delicate womb of the earth.

Every day, my body aches, crumbles, and shivers

Under the needle rays of the morning sun.

My shoulders break under the weight of the three huge mud pots,

Balanced precariously one above the other.

Rivers of sweat and dirt flow through the narrow alleys of my body

Seeking ultimate refuge at my feet.

 

But I don’t care…

I really don’t care.

I have no complaints,

For I have nowhere to go, nobody to turn to.

I am only a water wife, your mistress.

And this is my home, my world.

 

The Miracle Man

venetian-mask

When the man with the long black beard and brown eyes

 Set foot on the village,

Flowers of gold dropped from the azure skies,

Rivers of honey overflowed the barren terrains,

And even the dark, volcanic rocks

Began to hum sweet melodies –

That’s what they say.

 

He didn’t have a name,

He didn’t have a house.

 “The world is my playground

And you are my children,” he said.

He was a man of prophesies,

The secret keeper of life and death.

 

One Sunday morning,

When the Sun glistened

Like a steel plate in the spotless sky,

An old woman came running to the mystic,

Her face drenched in sweat and her body trembling…

 “Help me! Help me!

My daughter is missing,” she pleaded.

The mystic closed his eyes, fell into a trance,

And uttered a few incoherent words.

 

In the mean time,

The village folk searched for the girl

In every nook and cranny of the god-forsaken place,

Until they discovered her naked body,

Mutilated and covered in blood,

In the vast corn field nearby.

 

The entire village hung its head in shame

And cursed the monster who had committed such a heinous act.

But sadly, amidst all this hue and cry,

No one noticed the ‘Miracle Man’ –

The devilish glint in his brown eyes,

The faint streak of contempt on the twitched lips

And the dark red stains on his saffron robe.

In love with an ascetic

Shiva

I didn’t know his age or the world he came from,

For I am neither a historian nor an archaeologist.

Yet, I fell in love with him..

I fell in love with an ascetic,

A mystic, a man of legends –

Not once or twice, but many times.

Praise the ancients;

The master craftsmen who carved divinity from a single block of granite.

His serene visage, lit up by a thousand suns and moons,

Seemed to radiate the boundless energy of the universe.

The matted dreadlocks;

Deep, dark, unfathomable jungles, dotted with placid rivers,

Lay in abandon over his heavy shoulders.

Even the fierceness in his eyes seemed to have mellowed with age,

Or perhaps, caught in the whirlpool of intense love and devotion,

I was merely hallucinating…

 

From beyond the glass case,

The cosmic serpent, coiled around his powerful neck,

Stared at the mute, awestruck visitors;

Once again reminding each of us of the great infinity,

The inevitability of time, and the eternal cycle of life and death.

Chandramukhi

Two women_Cropped

From the small window in her room,

She gazed at the blue-black skies woven with a billion crystals.

Her silver white hair fell in cascades over her stooped shoulders,

Exuding the fresh fragrance of champa and wild jasmine.

From some unknown corner,

A cluster of stars shed its tranquil beams on her beautiful silhouette.

With her slender fingers, she gently traced the galaxies

That spun like prayer wheels on the edge of the universe.

 

Does the world still remember Chandramukhi, the veteran danseuse?

Do they still dream the demigoddess with demure eyes?

Do they still yearn for those tingling anklets that once set hearts on fire?

Do gods and goddesses hiding in the sanctum sanctorum of ancient temples

Still marvel at her perfectly chiselled form?

 

Perhaps, the world no longer cared for her.

Now, in her late seventies,

She is a paraplegic, living in the pathetic confines of an old age home –

Neglected by her sons, isolated by an egocentric society,

And bound to a world of sheer misery and hopelessness.

 

But tonight, like a virgin, she keenly waits for her beloved:

The mighty king of darkness, the stealer of souls.

She wants to be loved, to cuddle in the dark abyss of his arms – 

Blissful, comforting and peaceful…

 

 

The Farewell

The moon grew bigger, bigger and bigger,

Sucking the ink black skies into its deep, dark, cavernous hole.

In the stillness of the night,

When the earth was deep in slumber

And the stars and planets were conspiring the fates of mortals,

Yasodhara and her new-born lay cuddled in sleep in the royal chamber

Unaware of the destiny that awaited them.

 

It was a magnificent room embellished with statuettes of silver

And gold, and dragons with ruby-red eyes spitting fire;

A haven of luxury and boundless pleasures,

A setting fit enough for any ordinary mind to go astray.

 

A small oil lamp burnt feverishly in a corner.

In the flickering light, he gazed at the entwined figures once more;

The mother and the baby completely oblivious to the world around.

For a moment, tears brimmed in his lotus eyes…

But he had to go.

 

It was a tough decision, but he had made up his mind.

He was a man of larger vision, a man of higher purpose –

An evolved soul who couldn’t be tied down by worldly pleasures.

Kneeling beside her, he planted one last kiss on her nimble feet,

And caressed the smooth forehead of the little one.

Then, without wasting much time,

Without saying a word,

The young man in saffron robes, with a large alms bowl in his hands,

Walked out of the dark palace gates in silence –

In search of a new world, a new dawn.

Vaidehi

Vaidehi

It is the month of karkidakam,
When the heavens open up
And swallow the earth in a thunderous gulp.
It is the time of the year,
When the sun cozily snuggles
Under the blanket of the rain-borne clouds,
And silvery snails and lazy centipedes
Take refuge in the dim-lit corners of dilapidated houses.
It is the time of the year,
When sickness spreads its ghostly dark wings
Over the young and old alike,
And death weaves a black veil over the soggy earth.  

One such evening,
When the clouds burst into a spring of tears,
An old woman; a grandmother in her late seventies,
Sat in a rocking chair in the verandah,
Reading loudly the verses of the eternal Ramayana.
On the steps leading to the vast courtyard,
Stood Vaidehi, her only daughter –
 The single mother of two,
And the lone heir to the primitive, broken house.

Now and then,
Her pensive gaze fell on the evergreen Shimshupa.

 “Is it right for a man of virtue to sacrifice his wife and children
for the sake of the society?
Did he, for once, think about his children?
Has he forgotten his responsibilities as a father?
What have I done to deserve this?
Oh! I would rather pine for death
Than lead such a hopeless, disgraceful life …”
She cried aloud, causing the seven worlds
To shudder in pain and fury.

Closing her moist eyes,
She invoked the gods to answer her plaintive cries.
But the gods were silent.
They had always been deaf and mute…

The rain lashed at the tree with renewed angst.
The branches crumbled to the ground,
Merging with the dirt and dust of a million years.
The flowers of Shimshupa withered away…
Leaving the earth and the skies,
To journey to a world beyond.